This past Friday, Jan. 27, Carlmont SOS members, short for Students Offering Support, went to Tierra Linda Middle School to give presentations about bullying and self-esteem.
The group hopes that by educating the next generation of students will lead to stopping the vicious cycle of bullying and dangerously low self-esteem so common among, not only middle school, but continuing into high school.
“The earlier you get to [these kids] the better chance to help them,” said Francesco Nucci, an SOS Core Leader, a term used by the SOS group to define a student whose proactive and heavily involved in the program.
The members not only educated the younger kids about what bullying is and how self-esteem can affect their lives, but they also shared their personal stories about bullying, how they overcame it, and became stronger people.
When asked if anyone had felt alone at one point in their life, the classroom full of people, including all of the teachers and SOS members, raised their hands.
And this is one reason that SOS feels the need to come back to their middle schools and give back, so that all kids know that they are not alone and everything will be all right. The SOS members also stressed the importance of speaking up for yourself by informing the students that there is someone who is always ready and willing to listen and support them.
The SOS group’s adviser, Shelley Bustamante, has been working as Carlmont’s SOS Coordinator for over 14 years.
She is not only seen as a mother figure to many of the students in SOS, but also as a dear friend who has helped them through the hardest times in their lives.
“She is like a mother to me,” explained Sally Juarez, who is also an SOS Core Leader. “She will always listen to you and give advice.”
Nucci feels the same, “She’ll take all your emotions and confusions, and put them together into something that makes sense. She just knows what to say.”
Carlmont’s SOS group currently has more than 40 core members, and encourages anyone who is interested in joining SOS to talk to Bustamante.
“SOS is like the one big, supportive family that I didn’t have before,” Juarez stated.
Students can talk to Bustamante and any of the SOS members for more information or for personal issues.